IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Is Optimism Good in a Keynesian Economy?

Listed author(s):
  • Torsten Persson
  • Lars E.O. Svensson

Assume that an economy is in a state of Keynesian unemployment. Since production is demand-determined there are bootstraps (multiple) equilibria. Then, the more optimist agents are about the future the higher will be theur demand today and hence current production. In that limited sense optimism turns out to be unwarranted , which forces a download adjustment. Is this unwarranted optimism still good? We analyze this question by help of a general equilibrium model of a small open economy where the sequence of adjustment and readjustment is modeled as two successive temporary equilibria. The question wheter optimism is good is posed in terms of an explicit ( ex post) welfare evaluation. We fine that if the future is Walrasian, the future multiplier is unity, whereas the present multiplier is larger than unity. Then optimism increases ex post welfare. If the future has Keynesian unemployment, optimism still increases ex post welfare, as long as the present multiplier is larger than the future one. A necessary and sufficient condition for this is presented.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 1071.

in new window

Date of creation: Jan 1983
Publication status: published as Persson, Torsten and Lars E.O. Svensson. "Is Optimism Good in a Keynesian Economy?" Economica, Vol. 50, No. 199, (August 1983), pp. 291-300.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1071
Contact details of provider: Postal:
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.

Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

in new window

  1. Barro, Robert J & Grossman, Herschel I, 1971. "A General Disequilibrium Model of Income and Employment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(1), pages 82-93, March.
  2. J. Peter Neary, 1980. "Nontraded Goods and the Balance of Trade in a Neo-Keynesian Temporary Equilibrium," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 95(3), pages 403-429.
  3. Razin, Assaf, 1984. "Capital movements, intersectoral resource shifts and the trade balance," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(1-2), pages 135-152.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1071. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.